AMSTERDAM — Busy settling in after a work permit win on Friday, new Nottingham Forest forward Robbie Findley is eager to get into the team and make his debut for the English Championship side.
The 25-year-old Arizona native, whose contract ran out with Real Salt Lake at the end of the year, has long had admirers across the pond. Despite interest from the likes of Danish club Brøndby and EPL club Wolverhampton during that time, he says Forest simply suited him best.
"Of the teams interested, Forest was one of the top ones," Findley told MLSsoccer.com, speaking on the phone from Nottinghamshire. "After I visited for a few days and met the coaching staff, I think I made the right choice. I think it's the place for me."
[inline_node:326672]Much of the credit for drawing the American to City Ground goes to manager Billy Davies, who first noticed Findley in Houston, where he was visiting his brother-in-law, former Dynamo assistant and current Portland head coach Jon Spencer. Findley says he didn't talk to former Davies' charges Benny Feilhaber and Eddie Lewis—who played for him at Derby County—but plenty of Forest players and others offered a good word about his new boss.
"He's a great coach," said Findley. "He's very interactive in training. He's good at what he does, which is making a good environment to be in. When you do that, you have players around that are willing to commit to being successful."
Another reason for the comfy fit is Forest's playing style. In a league noted for frantic kick-and-chase soccer, Forest endeavor to play a more composed game more in line in the manner of Findley’s old MLS employers.
"At Real Salt Lake, we liked to pass the ball around to create chances, we were very good at that," he said. "It's a lot like that here, from the back going forward."
Unlike RSL, however, Nottingham Forest are a 145-year old club with a storied history muted a bit by recent struggles. They have not played in the English top flight since 1999 but do have a trophy case stocked with one domestic league crown, two FA Cups and a pair of European Cups from back in the late 1970s, when Brian Clough was manager and the likes of Peter Shilton and Trevor Francis thrilled the fans at the City Ground.
[inline_node:326673]Upon making his debut, Findley will become the fourth American to play for the Reds, following John Harkes, Ben Olsen and Jon-Paul Pittman.
Still waiting for his registration to come through, the US forward was unable to suit up against visiting Portsmouth on Saturday. He was in the house for the stunning 2-1 rally win, though, as Forest extended their unbeaten run to five matches, with four wins.
"I met some of the fans, they introduced me," said Findley. "I felt like there was a lot of support, which made me feel welcome. I can't wait to get in that jersey and get out on the field."
That could happen this Saturday when the Reds travel to face, coincidentally enough, Davies' former club Derby County.